Juveniles In Adult Facilities: History Of The Juvinile Justice System

1293 words - 6 pages

Introduction
In 1899, the juvenile justice court system began in the United States in the state of Illinois. The focus was intended to improve the welfare and rehabilitation of youth incarcerated in juvenile justice system. The court mainly was focused on the rehabilitation of the youths rather than punishing them being that they still have immature ways and still growing. Specialized detention centers, youth centers, and training schools were created to treat delinquent youth apart from adult offenders in adult facilities. “Of these, approximately 14,500 are housed in adult facilities. The largest proportion, approximately 9,100 youth, are housed in local jails, and some 5,400 youth are housed in adult prisons” (Austin, 2000).
The quagmire of placing juveniles in adult facilities is the risk factors juveniles may experience while incarcerated. Being that juveniles are young and smaller to the adult offenders, they may be seen as a prey or easy target for rape, assault, mental issues which eventually leads to suicide. We must keep in mind that juveniles are youth meaning they are still a child, not an adult and should not be exposed to adult incarceration environment. Although it is cost saving to place juveniles and adults under one facility, it is unethical because they are not built and yet mentally ready and prepared to experience adult facilities. Alternative strategies are available to assist juvenile detainees such as healthcare, education, recreation, and work experience. The Juvenile Court Act of 1899 gave leniency to youth under the age of 16. Placing youth detainees with adult offenders will result in the reduction of rehabilitation services for youth, while increasing the rate of being a victim as a potential prey or target, as well as being influenced by adult offenders tendencies.
History
Founded in Chicago in 1899, the state of Illinois, Cook County, was the first juvenile court to enact the Juvenile Court Act of1899. The act made it necessary to separate children under the age of 16 from adult facilities. Children at the age of 16 and older are too tried as adults. Political and financial pressure has caused many of our state jurisdictions to collide adult and juveniles together to save money for financial purposes. Within a 30 year time span, the Juvenile Court Act had been adopted by all of the United States, establishing juvenile courts and appointing juvenile court counselors. The court focused on treating the juveniles with rehabilitation instead of the alleged offense.
Parens Patriae is a legal document that states that the juvenile courts must treat the child with authority to make beneficial decisions just as a parent would. Supreme Court in 1967 ratified In re Gault, which concluded that juveniles with civil cases are subject to a potential loss of liberty. With this the court required that all youth offenders have the right to notice of charges, legal counsel, cross-examinations, privilege against...

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